PHYSICA is a living installation and a time based performance producing ephemeral projections from the interactions of objects, light, and phenomena.
Our experience of light, both conscious and unconscious, speaks to the fragile and magnanimous sensations of being human in an omnipotent universe. Our perception of light, underlines our relationships to both the natural and manmade worlds. Light, along with shadow, shows us the shape of the world through its’ contours, its’ empty spaces, its’ shimmering affects, standing as proof of our existence on the planet and under the sun.
PHYSICA, is a space and a place for contemplation, for observation, and for the convocation of shared experience. It is an imagined diagram of the cosmos: rocks and prisms counterbalance; phenomena in perpetual interaction, reveal the sublime. So what of the perceiver? and what of the perceived?
PHYSICA is an ode to human contemplation of the universe from the beginnings of time, to our pre-scientific understandings of both the microcosm, and the macrocosm. As a diagram of the future, it stands as a symbol of the power we feel we now hold over our destiny as a species, and as a planet. The self hangs in counterbalance with the community. The strings extend beyond the cloister to the passerby.
We have hand in all of existence: it is palpable, concrete, intangible, and terrifyingly vast.
This research plays with synergistic relationships between material, gesture, and image. It aspires to create a forum, and an invitation to enact movements together, to uncover agency, resistance, beauty, and hope.
The Music of the Firmament
In its revolving the firmament emits marvellous sounds, which we nevertheless cannot hear because of its’ great height and expanse; likewise a mill wheel or cartwheel gives off sound when it turns. But the firmament is at such a height and expanse above the earth so that it does not destroy the people and the animals upon the earth; therefore it is far enough away, for if it were any nearer the humans and animals would perish by the fire and winds and by the water and the clouds. As body and soul are one and support each other, in the same way the planets with the firmament confirm each other and strengthen each other. And like the soul that enlivens and strengthens the body, the sun- with the moon and the other stars- warms and strengthens the firmament with its’ fire. Thus the firmament is like a human head; the sun, moon and stars are the eyes; the air is our sense of hearing, the winds our sense of smell, the dew our taste, the sides of the cosmos are like our arms and our sense of touch. And the other creatures that are in the world are like our stomach, but the earth is our heart. As the heart holds the body together from top to bottom so the earth is a secure land for the waters on its surface and a firm resistant to the waters beneath the earth to prevent them from wrongly breaking out.
From causes and cures, The Cosmos, by Hildegard of Bingen
A short introduction to the life of Hildegard of Bingen…
In the year 1112 Hildegard was enclosed in a monastery for life. She was eight years old. At this time, the rituals that accompanied the commitment of women and girls to life as anchorites referenced both bridal, and funeral, rites. Hildegard entered the monastery at the same time as Jutta, who was then 14 and of a higher social ranking. Jutta became Hildegards’ superior. From Jutta, Hildegard received her entire education
The anchorage in which they lived consisted of a cell for women attached to the exterior walls of a men’s monastery. They would have had no physical contact with the outside world, speaking with visitors through a grate, eating food delivered by an unseen hand. It would be many years before the community would grow beyond two women, eventually numbering just under twenty members.Thirty years after their entry in the monastery, Jutta, very piously, fulfilled her destiny as an anchorite, and died within the enclosure. At the age of 38 Hildegard became the leader of the remaining community.
By the age of 40 Hildegard had taken bold steps to alter her situation entirely. First, she wrote to religious [male] authorities, including the pope himself, in order to gain permission, as a woman, to write. She wished to record in words, the blinding visions she had had (often under great physical distress) and had hidden, since she was a child. She was granted permission and slowly her ideas began to circulate beyond her enclosure.
Next, she petitioned the monks within whose monastery she was anchored, as well as their superiors, to allow her to move her community to a new location. Although met with much resistance, she succeeded in raising the necessary funds to purchase a site further down the river. She then proceeded to design and supervise the construction of new buildings for the women. She moved the community and even obtaining permission to bring with her the male monk, Volmar, who would work as Hildegard’s scribe for decades.
Over the next forty years, Hildegard wrote profusely. She recorded her visions, and supervised the illuminations that accompanied them. She wrote volumes of her observations of nature, medicinal practices, the body, the cosmos, and the human soul. Her theology included a conception of god as being defined by a balance of both feminine and masculine energies- and of our fundamental nature as being defined not by original sin, but by creativity, and generative life-force (viriditas literally the lush greenness of nature). She composed the music for the women of her monastery to sing. She has left behind over 70 known musical works, in additional to a morality play scored to music, which may well be Europe’s first known opera. Hildegard’s intellectual and artistic production was extraordinary.
Equally remarkable were the correspondences that she cultivated over forty years with popes and emperors, abbesses, abbots, nobles, and scholars across Europe. Through hundreds of letters, she gave her opinions, dispensed advice, discussed politics, morality, and exchanged ideas. By the time she had reached her sixties and into her seventies she toured Germany, responding to invitations to preach to religious communities and lay people alike. In the twelfth century, religious women were to remain enclosed, and travelled accompanied only under the most, rare, and unlikely circumstances.They were not permitted to speak publicly, and they were forbidden to preach. Yet she did.
CLEA MINAKER / is a performer, director, and interdisciplinary creator who trained at the International Institute of Puppetry Arts in Charleville-Mézières, France (2002-2005). Clea explores an interest for shadow, light, live projections, object creation, as well as the poetics of manipulation, and corporeal gesture.
She works in theatre, live music, opera, dance, film, visual art, and community arts. She has created commissioned works for: the N.A.C Orchestra, The Banff Centre, IF! Istanbul, Festival Casteliers; some notable collaborations include; Feist, Atom Egoyan, So-called, Kid Koala. Clea was awarded the 2009 Siminovitch Protégé Prize for Theatre Design by prize laureate and puppeteer Ronnie Burkett.
Clea has been artist-in-residence in the theatre department at Concordia University from 2014-2019, teaches at l’Université du Quebec à Montréal, and The National Theatre School of Canada.